Social Media and Balance

At the end of the summer we went on a family holiday to Portugal. Although we’ve had several short breaks of a few days each to Hope Cove in Devon, this was not only our first holiday longer than 5 days but also our first trip abroad as a family. Before then we hadn’t been abroad since the husband and I got married in Cyprus in 2007, long before we even considered having children.

Before booking, we didn’t do anything anything in the way of research. We literally walked into Thomas Cook one afternoon, sat down and told the consultant our budget and requirements (namely sun, all inclusive and a short flight) and booked! We had gone in a few weeks before and picked up a few brochures but we were simply overwhelmed with all of the choice and options. Perhaps brochures are not the best way to research holidays as I was never sure if the prices we came up with were all that accurate or if they included things like transfers. However, searching online for holidays under such broad requirements obviously left us with much more choice and confusion.

Our plan for this holiday was to do very little other than lay by the pool. After a stressful year with various health issues from all of us, we just wanted to relax and have some quality family time together. As a blogger and social media addict, I am almost permanently attached to either my iPhone, iPad or MacBook. For the first time, I didn’t take the MacBook away with me and I took the huge step of deleting all of my social media and email apps from my iPhone and the family iPad. I thought I might miss being on Twitter especially. I thought that I would feel disconnected from the world. I thought I might feel like I was missing a limb.

social media

Confession

I have a confession however.

I didn’t miss it.

I didn’t miss Facebook.

I didn’t miss Twiter.

I didn’t feel the need to check Facebook or Twitter every 10 minutes.

I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.

The only times I looked at my phone was to check the time, to listen to music or take a photo.

I felt the complete opposite of how I expected to feel.

I was present.

Which has made me think.

Yes social media is great for keeping us connected to each other. As someone who doesn’t work and has little connection with anyone outside my family, it’s been a fantastic source of friendship and support for me. When I had Twitter, Facebook and Messenger installed on my iPhone I felt like I needed to check for mentions every 10 minutes or so (and I wish I was exaggerating) if I wasn’t busy. Even when spending time with my wonderful family, I would “quickly check in” or wonder in the back of my mind what I was missing.

Social media became a time-sucker and weighed constantly on my mind. It’s very easy to open an app with the intention of just “having a quick check” and then get distracted by a breaking news story, or a drama between bloggers, or a flurry of mentions that always need responding to right away just in case I forget later.

Balance

My week away from all of social media made me realise just how sucked in to virtual life I had become and the importance of balance. The thought of uninstalling all of the apps, of not taking my MacBook, not checking whether my blog hosting was still OK, actually made me feel almost ill at first. We might joke about our reliance on modern technology and ways of communicating and while they have, no doubt, a considerable benefit to many of us, equally many of us, myself included, can come to rely on it too much.

We’ve been back from Portugal now for three weeks and I have only reinstalled Twitter and Instagram and, notably, have notifications turned off. I no longer have Facebook or Messenger on my iPhone. Suddenly I’ve found myself having more time and being more productive.

Importantly, during my week offline, I felt lighter. Rather than feel worse for not being in constant contact, I felt better.

My social media use is definitely still quite high but I think I’ve found a much better balance.

What about you? Do you manage your time on social media well? How do you do it?

11 thoughts on “Social Media and Balance

  1. That’s very impressive! I’ve definitely noticed that you’ve been on Twitter a lot less lately. You are one of the people who I knew would always be around. I’ve definitely cut down my social media use a bit. I no longer tweet about every single thing that amuses me or annoys me, like I used to. On days when I’m busy with work I will ignore notifications for hours. But I don’t think I could actually give it up!
    sarahmo3w recently posted…The panto audition – here we go again!My Profile

  2. I always leave my notifications off. If I hear it, I have to check it. Time goes so fast when you’re in social media mode. I have just launched a new webpage, so I need it to do promotion, but I’m actually thinking of setting a timer to go off after half an hour to remind me to walk away from the computer.

    PS: I love being out of range because its a great excuse not to use the phone and SM 🙂

  3. I’ve literally just read another post about balance and social media. It’s really given me food for thought. Fair play for not missing Facebook et al, I like to think I wouldn’t if I went offline for a while but I’m not sure my addictive personality lends itself well to that! #brillblogposts

  4. This is such a great post and I know exactly what you mean. I find the pressure of family life, working, blogging and social media very intense. I could cope with the blogging as extra but the social media on top is so time consuming. It literally does suck your time and energy, leaving you less time to just ‘be’. I’m torn between trying to lead a peaceful ‘mindful’ life (which really helps for me as I have a tendency to get stressed and anxious when I have too much on) and trying to achieve and live up to my creative potential. My current job is not challenging but pays good money and is flexible with my family life so I daren’t walk away form it but I’m the sort of person who needs to feel creatively challenged and fulfilled. Modern life isn’t always clear cut is it? Sounds like you’ve seen the light. Tor xx

  5. I’m not bothered about Twitter but I find myself checking Facebook a bit too often. I’m going to start managing it a bit more as I want to set a good example to my kids, and be present with them rather than thinking about social media all the time. Glad I’m not the only one thinking about this…..

  6. So glad you had a SM free holiday. Isn’t it just the best. So hard with what we do though but it does make you wonder what we are missing out on too. Obviously it’s the nature of the job but I guess it’s about finding the balance isn’t it. #brillblogposts

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